When You’ve Got That Ugly Fat Feeling
Have you ever stood in front of your closet and just felt fat? Me too. I am learning five ways that I can fight the feeling and make my closet — and my body — my friend.
One of the most everyday things in my life can be the very thing that causes me the most frustration—shopping for clothes or even selecting them out of my closet! Finding something to wear can take me on an emotional roller coaster. Some clothes are flattering, some promise to be forgiving and others are just not. The worst outfits are those that scream, “YOU ARE FAT!”
It’s often unpredictable when those mean thoughts strike. They sometimes start as a whispering accusation. You are so big. How did you let yourself get like this? And before I know it they turn into You are going to be so huge and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
As I discovered how incredibly debilitating those thoughts and actions were, I began to look for ways to rise above them. I realized that what I was often doing was trying to work my way out of the despair once I was deeply into it. But the time to conquer the fear of fat was actually when the very first thought struck!
- Admit you are feeling fat. Regardless of what you weigh, the despair you are feeling begins in your mind and that is where you need to begin. Acknowledge how you are feeling, but don’t nurse those thoughts for very long.
- Ask yourself clarifying questions to discover what you are struggling with. When we feel out of control or stressed, we often internalize it and begin to feel unattractive. Ask yourself, “What is really bothering me?” As you reflect on that, you will realize that your “fat feelings” are often internalized frustrations about something entirely different. Ask yourself where you are in your cycle; it could well be that you are feeling low for a very good reason.
- Take your thoughts captive. You may have so many thoughts running through your mind so that you no longer know what is true and right. You may even have thoughts that contradict each other.Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and write “Truth” as the heading of one column and “Lies” as the heading on the other. Then begin to write. In the Truth column, write out those things you know to be facts. For example, “My doctor says I’m a healthy weight” and then in the Lies column, you could write the lie that parallels it. “I’m so overweight and ugly.”As you write out the many points, you will be amazed at the contradicting messages that are in your mind.Each time you have a thought that you know to be negative, add it to your journal. Then begin to pray that you would learn to believe only the items in the Truth column. In the early days of using this method, you will probably do a lot of writing and active sorting of your thoughts. Once you become used to labeling your thoughts as truth or lies and then taking your thoughts captive, you will be able to do this without paper. It can become a way of thinking and renewing your mind—every thought, every day! There is huge freedom in this.
- Move forward on what you know to be true—not what you feel. There are times to ignore your feelings. If you are feeling afraid of being fat or possibly feel that you are fat and unacceptable because of that, do something that is the opposite of what you feel. Call a friend and do something meaningful for them. Instead of internalizing your feelings, the key here is to take a negative self-destructive thought pattern and reach out to encourage someone else. Don’t engage in binge eating because you think you are already too overweight. Make the effort to eat healthy and take care of your body; remember that you are worth it. Tip: Take a card and write on it “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a).
- Make the effort. On the days you feel particularly unattractive, wear something that you know you look good in and take extra effort to do your hair and makeup in a special way.
I spent many years of my life agonizing over my weight, feeling like no one could love me because I was too overweight. I’m a recovered anorexic and have learned the secret of taking each thought captive. I discovered how distorted the “fat feelings” really were when I realized that at 82 pounds, I had felt much larger than I did when I was 9 months pregnant.
Freedom is a choice; you may need help to retrain your thinking, but it is possible—one thought at a time!
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer to tune into God and by faith invite Him to empower you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.